Golden Birthday Sweetness
January 22, 2011 1:07 PM   Subscribe

Help me come up with an awesome vacation idea for my 25th golden birthday.

My 25th birthday is comping up and since I was born on the 25th it is my golden birthday. I kind of want to do something big for it. I like good reasons to celebrate and I can't think of one better than a golden birthday on the quarter of a century mark.

I was thinking of going to Las Vegas because I have never been there, but now I am thinking maybe I should do something else. I am not too big into gambling so the going would be more for the infamy of going rather than something that I would really enjoy.

Are there any suggestions out there for great ideas. I am thinking of a 4-5day trip somewhere like a cruise to Alaska or what not. I am in the Chicago area of the united states and I would not want to spend too much. I think i would want a relaxing beautiful place over clubs or a jam packed tourist location. I like natural beauty of places more than large cities, but I am open to any idea since I want to look at all my choices before picking something memorable and awesome.
posted by Jaelma24 to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How much money is "too much" to spend?

Also, Vermont.
posted by J. Wilson at 1:30 PM on January 22, 2011

Golden birthday is the term for when your age is the same as the date of your birthday - she's turning 25 on the 25th.

What about somewhere naturally beautiful like Utah? Utah's many National Parks, including the north rim of the Grand Canyon, are frequently breathtaking and maybe on the less expensive end of the spectrum.
posted by CheeseLouise at 1:42 PM on January 22, 2011

Oops, meant to post that with this...

When do you want to go? My vote would be to go dinosaur fossil digging in Wyoming, but it has a season.
posted by phunniemee at 1:43 PM on January 22, 2011

You don't specify the month or time of year of your birthday, but if it is between May and September, than I think you should set your sites on Alaska. If you only have 5 days, and want some flexibility then scratch the cruise idea. Fly to Anchorage, rent a car, and ckeck out Denali and Kenai Fjords National Parks. They are both fairly close to Anchorage, and totally awesome if you're in to wildlife and breath taking scenery. If you don't want to rent a car, there is train service to both National Parks. The train trips are pretty sweet too. That would be a good trip for 4 to 5 days. Round trip tickets from Chicago to Anchorage are between $400 and $500.

On a side note, Las Vegas probably isn't a good place to visit alone unless you're an extrovert that enjoys gambling. You could check out Las Vegas for a day and then do a road trip to the Grand Canyon or Death Valley.
posted by Beardsley Klamm at 1:50 PM on January 22, 2011

Based on your other preferences, it doesn't sound like Las Vegas is really your kind of place. How about a "land cruise" around the USA? Chicago is Amtrak's main hub so you have their entire route system at your feet.

In 4 or 5 days you could take the Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle, then the Coast Starlight down to SF or LA and fly home. Or you could go directly to SF on the California Zephyr - either way you'll be going through some gorgeous mountain scenery. If you could spend a little longer on the rails, you can do the whole loop, including the Sunset Limited from LA to New Orleans, then the City of New Orleans back home to Chicago. You'll get a whole new view of this huge country of ours which you just don't get from 35,000 feet.

Amtrak is notorious for epic delays mid-route, but trains generally get to their terminus pretty close to on-time and if you're just sight-seeing, delays aren't such a big deal. (Train schedules make your layovers several hours long anyway, so there are good safety margins at each end.) Sleeper compartments are small but comfortable and worth a splurge for your special birthday, especially if you can talk someone else into splitting the cost with you. (You pay the same price for the room even if there's only one passenger.) There are showers on board, too. Meals are included in the cost of the sleeper, so that helps a little. The food isn't too bad, all things considered, and part of the fun is chatting with your tablemates in the dining car.

I've done a few long trips on Amtrak and I'd say the western routes are more scenic and the cars are more comfortable. If you want any more recommendations, feel free to MeMail me.
posted by Quietgal at 1:57 PM on January 22, 2011

Response by poster: Okay to insert more information here. sorry i did not have it earlier. I would be going in august. I will be going with my boyfriend so I wont be alone.
posted by Jaelma24 at 2:16 PM on January 22, 2011

I'm surprised since there are so many Portland Me-Fites out there that I'm the one to suggest it...but Portland, OR! I spent a month there last August and the weather was gorgeous the whole time- mid-70's and sunny. I know you said you wanted non-touristy places, but compared to Chicago it's much more laid-back and not nearly as crowded. It has ots of unique neighborhoods it's fun to just wander through. There's great public transportation within the city, and fun things to do/ great food. But if you wanted more of the beautiful scenery, take day trips to Multnomah falls, or even Crater Lake.
posted by alygator at 8:02 PM on January 22, 2011

Since you're in Chicago you may go up to Canada often, but August is a great time of year to visit there...bonus of a little cultural difference especially in the Quebec area. This could be an affordable trip for you and your boyfriend.
The north-west coast would also be a great option, I second that earlier suggestion.
posted by Cuddo at 4:11 AM on January 23, 2011

Response by poster: I was thinking of the Northwest US as something great to try. I have flown into Seattle and loved the mountains. I did say not touristy, but i more mean that I do not want to go to museums and big balls of yarn or anything like that. I should look into Portland thanks for the suggestion.

I was also thinking of Canada too. I have actually only been to Canada once. I know it is beautiful up there as well. It would be fun to go out of the Country.
posted by Jaelma24 at 5:53 PM on January 24, 2011

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